What’s the difference between Jon Gruden in September and an overripe California-grown tomato? The tomato doesn’t have to put up with Mark Davis for the next seven years, who, coincidentally (or not?), also looks like an overripe tomato — except Davis does for all 12 months of the year. For Gruden, it’s just about a two-month sweet spot, and who can blame him for wanting to get his bronze on to complete that irresistible visor look? From the TV, he looks like he’s yap-yap-yapping from the first whistle to the last, the same way Pete Carroll is chomping at the bit from the moment he comes out of the tunnel.

Both Carroll and Gruden have attractive fantasy running backs at their disposal as they prepare week after week in the form of Chris Carson and Josh Jacobs. They also appear to be staring at pretty hefty fines from the league office after looking somewhat lax with their mask usage during gameplay on Sunday and Monday. No matter how you spin it, the NFL was hit with a plethora of unfortunate story lines in Week 2, with stars on both sides of the ball doing down with seemingly every ailment underneath the moon. That makes my job entering Week 3 of the season as difficult as it’s going to get (*knock on wood, although Gruden’s mid-section as of late Monday night would suffice*), so let’s fast-forward through the pleasantries and get to the ever-controversial top 60 ROS running back rankings. First, let’s take a quick trip around the league via some player news and updates.

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As the final night of Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season winds to a close, I find myself updating Razzball’s top 60 running back rankings with some unusual sights dancing in front of my eyes. Stephen Gostkowski has missed three kicks and a field goal, Noah Fant looked like the best player on the field in the first half, Corey Davis is shredding the Broncos defense and my dog is licking his butt in the corner of the room as I scream about all of these things. Also on Monday were some unusual running back performances, highlighted by Saquon Barkley’s six-yard game on the ground and a breakout day for Benny Snell of Pittsburgh. Oddly enough, it looked for a little while like we really might see a 50-50 workload split in Denver before Melvin Gordon took over in the fourth quarter. If you’re already losing your mind over realities such as these, it might be a long 16 weeks to follow for you. On the plus side, we’re here to help you navigate the rest of the way with your running backs, as the weekly top 60 picks back up today with some drastic changes including some movement inside the top 10. First, let’s take a quick trip around the league.

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Welcome back to another trek to the highest peak. If you followed me last year, you’ll know that I am going to be your guide through this fantasy season. The first checkpoint in 2020 feels like the 50th as we have all already weathered a storm much more dangerous than fantasy football. However, we’re here now and ready to work. 

Take a sip of your morning coffee, brewed extra strong for the journey ahead. Week 1 is behind us and now there is much work to be done. I will group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. You’ll also be able to tell who is more valuable by the free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) suggestion, assuming a $100 budget. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 33% of ESPN leagues. DISCLAIMER – at press time Tennessee and Denver had not kicked off yet. 

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Two days, football fans! Two days! That means the 2020 NFL Season will be upon us in a smaller span of time than your average game of cricket. Quicker than your seven round NFL Draft. And much faster than it takes Kirk Cousins to get rid of the ball on a typical pass play. Just two days and we’ll have NFL football. Two days until you get to turn months of research and late-night draft parties into something that actually matters as all the projection slowly turns into production. Today, we’ll begin with the former as I reveal my top 60 running backs heading into week one of the 2020 season. As a general baseline, I’ll be using half-PPR scoring for these rankings. Moving forward, I will continuously update these 60 backs on a weekly basis to provide an up-to-date snapshot at the top options at the position moving forward. Before we get into the actual rankings, here are some highlights from the opening list.

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By now you’ve heard how the saga of Lynyrd Jagyr’d came to an end in a fiery plane crash. Very sad. But out of the flames a new hope is born. I can now stop feverishly refreshing my Twitter feed for Leonard Fournette news like an addict searching for one last crack rock under the couch. Fournette has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, agreeing to a one-year 2 million dollar contract with another 1.5 million in possible incentives. That’s not Bitcoin Cash, it’s real money. You can bet your crypto that Fournette will have a serious role in this exciting Tampa offense. 

In Jacksonville Fournette faced a stacked box (8+ defenders loaded in the box) over 30% of the time each of the last three seasons. Derrick Henry is the only other back to garner such defensive attention since Fournette’s rookie season. Leo will now benefit from a balanced offense with a high powered passing game to keep defenses in check while yielding tons more red zone opportunities. And in 2019 Fournette showed off his impressive hands catching 76 passes; if we learned anything from Brady’s two decades in New England it’s 1) he isn’t above “bending” the rules and 2) he targets his running backs more than anyone. 

All this adds up to Fournette shooting back up my 2020 fantasy football rankings, all the way to #27 overall (in PPR). I’ve aggressively projected him for 200 carries, 800 rushing yards, 50 receptions, 350 receiving yards and 8 total touchdowns in 13 games. While I am crazy bullish on Fournette, make no mistake, there’s some risk that I’m over estimating his workload and this ends up more of an even split committee. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy football:

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are back for running back rankings for 2020 fantasy football part deux. We discuss some NFL news off the top including: the David Montgomery injury, Parris Campbell, Damien Harris, and continue to profess our love for Preston Williams. Then, we follow up with a podcast announcement before getting into the rest of DT’s RB ranks.

We start with some rookie RB back and forth where we differ on how we see the veterans and incumbents fitting into the offenses. We look at the Bills backfield with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss both coming in pretty low. B_Don defends Ronald Jones and Jordan Howard, and we take a look at how the Titans offense may look if anything were to happen to Derrick Henry.

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When Scott Fish personally reached out to me (that didn’t happen) and begged me to participate in SFBX (also didn’t happen) to raise money for his Fantasy Cares charity, I reluctantly joined to help the kids. If you aren’t familiar with the Scott Fish Bowl, it’s the fantasy football equivalent of Burning Man. With a field of 1,440 participants, most of whom are in the fantasy football industry, some call it the greatest fantasy football competition in the universe. The Razzball camp was lit for this event: B_Don was handing out the experimental drugs, MB was twirling fire sticks, Rudy was waxing poetic about his 2020 fantasy football projections and The Boof was boofing anything and everything he could find to boof. And he found plenty to boof. All the while I sat in the corner whispering sweet dick jokes to my beloved Kerryon Johnson fathead. After making the SFB playoffs last year and then getting demolished in the first round, Kerryon and I were laser focused for this year’s draft. Without further ado, here’s the recap of my 2020 Scott Fish Bowl Draft out of the #2 slot (see the full draft board here):

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At the highest-stakes Texas hold ’em poker table in Iowa, you put your career on the line. Every Friday, a group of graduate students gathered at a professor’s house. This professor, he was short, balding, and a British footballer. If it was your first time at his table, you’d drink wine for free and he’d chip $10 into the pot for you. He’d grab an LP, something you never heard before but was charming, like The Doves or Interpol. A 500-page book sat at the edge of the poker table, and the professor talked about the awards it won and his Cambridge education. He’d invite you back for another game, but next time, you bring the wine and chip in $20 to the pot. By the fifth game, you’re bringing snacks and booze and maybe some of his groceries. The book was always on the table, as were the stories of Cambridge. One night, the soundtrack would be Tom Waits for three hours straight. Who listens to Tom Waits for that long? Of course, he asked you to get the $60 bottle of wine because you’re enjoying your time so much. Seems like the professor is winning more than usual tonight. Around 11PM, you notice there’s some cards missing from the discard pile nearby the professor. You mention it. The professor stands, his hand on his award-winning book, his mood affected by the Pinot Noir you paid for. He looks you in the eye and says, “You’re accusing an award-winning, full professor in your department, from Cambridge, of cheating?” And you realize: it’s the cost of the wine and the buy-in, or your career. You went swimming with the sharks, and you got eaten. You back down. Tom Waits keeps growling in the background. 

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When Heath Cummings of CBS Fantasy Sports asked me if I’d be willing to participate in his 20 round industry dynasty superflex startup mock draft, I had to check my schedule. My Kerryon Johnson stalking schedule that is. Between that and working up my 2020 fantasy football rankings I was booked solid. Fortunately, the bushes outside Kerryon’s house are pretty comfortable and I cracked the Johnson’s wifi password months ago. So it was all systems go for this 12 team PPR dynasty superflex startup mock draft, see the full results here. Anyway, here’s the team I came away with:

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Donkey Teeth and B_Don reconvene to discuss DT’s dynasty RB ranks. Of course, any discussion with Donkey about running backs has to include some Kerryon Johnson. 

The guys are split on a number of running backs including Joe Mixon, Melvin Gordon, and Austin Ekeler. DT gives us his case for Jonathan Taylor as a top 10 dynasty RB, and why he hates Marlon Mack. 

We take a look at the Cardinals situation for this year and beyond before jumping into some late round guys and 2019 rookies that people may be ready to throw into the garbage pile. Stay tuned for the end as DT has an exciting announcement (that he almost forgot) about a new platform coming to Razzball Football! 

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